This may sound crazy, but I sometimes feel as though I’m being hunted by a dinosaur.
Yep. That really did sound crazy, didn’t it? Would it help if I added that I’m talking about a robot dinosaur? Nope, still rather kind of crazy. Would it also help if I added that the mechanical dinosaur is three feet long, stands 15 inches high and runs on six AA batteries. That’s right, the killer mechanical dinosaur is a toy. Or, perhaps, that is just what it would have us believe.
It’s named the Roboraptor, and it’s been roaming the floors of my home for about three weeks now. My toddler-son Bowie first spotted it in the garage of our next-door neighbors’ house when we were over for a quick visit.
At that point Roboraptor had no batteries and only grinned harmlessly as Bowie pushed it around the concrete floor while providing suitable dinosaur growls.
Roboraptor was on the way to the thrift store, so our generous neighbor Hal gave it to us instead. But he did so with a warning. “If you put batteries in it,” he said, “watch out.” He was talking more about the ferocious sound level of Roboraptor and the fact that it can produce a robot roar worthy of the Jurassic Park T-Rex. But what he should have said was “If you put batteries in it, watch out…because this toy is pure evil.” More specifically, it’s kind of like a robot dinosaur Chucky.
For a while we heeded Hal’s warnings, but eventually the curiosity was too much. We had to know what Roboraptor did when you flipped the on-switch. Now we know. It comes to life. It opens his jaws and roars. It scrambles across the floor. It waves its long tail back and forth. Sometimes it cocks its head to the side, appears to look me in the eye and then charges in my direction. Most of the time I think Roboraptor’s settings are safely in the off position, only to hear it let out a piercing scream from the other room. I don’t think I’m making this up. Further research tells me that the Roboraptor is manufactured by Wowwee and boasts such features as “an advanced artificial intelligence personality” and “an infra-red vision system which detects objects in his path.”
That’s right, Roboraptor can see…and think. I’m assuming it will one day try to take over the world and probably battle Arnold Schwarzenegger. The other night before going to bed I noticed that Roboraptor had been left in the doorway of our bedroom. It’s creepy robo-silhouette watching…waiting. Just to play it safe I moved it to the far side of the living room, in the corner of the room, on the other side of the coffee table.
This is to lessen the chances that I will one day wake up to find Roboraptor standing at the foot of my bed; sniffing the air and gnashing its pointy plastic teeth. If it comes to this I will likely have to frantically destroy Roboraptor with a baseball bat. But only after I spend a long time shrieking like a little, little girl.
Likewise, my wife Katie treats Roboraptor as though it’s a live snake that has slithered into the house and curled up next to Buzz Lightyear and Mr. Potato Head in the toy-cabinet. “Um, I don’t want to touch it,” she says while giving it a wide berth. Though, I’ve got to say, as a toy, Roboraptor is pretty awesome. And it’s a big step up from the molded plastic grocery store dinos I used to make do with as a kid.
Bowie seems to see it this way too. He and Roboraptor often get into some heated wrestling matches as he grabs the dinosaur by it’s wriggling tale and tries to pin it to the floor. Sometimes it actually looks like Roboraptor is winning. But not for long.
Because the more the evil dinosaur fights, the quicker those six AA batteries are going to run out. I just hope I can survive that long.